November 27, 2018
By Whitney Tarpy
OXFORD, Miss. – David Colby, a University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy professor, received a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to develop new treatments for addressing the opioid crisis.
Colby hopes to develop a therapy for drug addiction by studying the medicinal chemistry of certain compounds that can lower the anxiety some patients experience when withdrawing from an addiction.
“My research group is developing molecules that may have potential use in the treatment of drug addiction,” said Colby, associate professor of medicinal chemistry in the Department of BioMolecular Sciences. “This work is critical in the context of the mission of NIDA at the National Institutes of Health because of the impact of the opioid epidemic in the United States.”
Through this research, Colby’s lab discovered a new class of compounds that have the potential to treat addiction more effectively than existing therapies.
“The opioid crisis has reached epidemic levels across this country and there is an urgent need for treatment,” said Amna Adam, a fourth-year medicinal chemistry Ph.D. student from San Diego, California. “I am proud of my role in solving this health issue and helping those in need.”
Adam, as well as second-year student pharmacists Tori Clearman and Demi Leara and pre-pharmacy student Madeline Griffin, are all integrated into the work of Colby’s project. Clearman, a native of Meridian, Mississippi, said the opioid crisis was a main motivator for her to attend pharmacy school and that she hopes this opportunity will help her accomplish her career goals.
“I’ve learned so much about medicinal chemistry and gained valuable research tools that I feel will make me a better pharmacist and researcher,” Clearman said. “Dr. Colby allows us to work independently, as long as we are producing results, which has taught me a lot about time management and self-motivation.”
Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R15DA046795. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.